Your online community might be huge—built on Jive, Khoros, Drupal, or Salesforce—or based on a basic software system, such as Ning. Irrespective of the size, you will run into the challenge of migrating to a new platform sooner or later. Do not panic when that happens!
Although migrating from one platform to another is never a straightforward process, you can pull it off successfully after careful planning and some assistance from experts. This 16-point checklist will prove handy during the planning stage.
The checklist sums up the most important consideration for online community migration that we have gathered over the years. During those years we consulted businesses, customized and optimized communities implemented new platforms, and carried out hundreds of successful migrations. Now you can benefit from our experience.
Here you go:
1. Is migration worth the effort? Ascertain that you are migrating to a platform that adds value to your processes.
2. Can the users be convinced? Be ready and come up with a valid and convincing reason to migrate to a new platform. Until you are convinced, it will be difficult to sway your users.
3. Does the product meet my business requirements? Introspect your business objectives. Then, ensure that the product you have chosen meets most, if not all, of your requirements. Customization is crucial. The new platform should be customizable.
4. Is the new platform well-understood? Gain a complete understanding of the platform you are going to migrate to. This will help you train your teams and users.
5. Is there a training program in place? Provide proper training to the key people who will be handling the community and training your users. You must also check out with the platform provider about its training programs and roll-outs. Most companies will have training documents that you can use as a reference.
6. Have the departments given their buy-in? Alert various departments and get a buy-in from them. They are the ones who will be affected and their consent is crucial to the smooth functioning of the community after migration.
7. Are the teams convinced? Involve all the teams who will be affected, and encourage them to learn. Explain the rationale behind the migration to them and list the expected benefits, such as the predicted ROI and efficiency gains.
8. Are super users involved? Include the super users and top contributors in the migration process to enhance transparency. It will guard against migration having a detrimental effect on your community’s performance.
9. Is there a migration partner involved? Have the right migration partner. It is the key to a successful and hassle-free migration experience.
10. Will your integrations work properly? Identify any integrations with third-party tools that were previously added to your community or any connectors that you were using. Make sure these are compatible with your new community. You can always consult a migration partner if you face any challenges with the same.
11. Are your search APIs working fine? Communities, nowadays, use cross-platform search solutions. When you shift to your new community, make sure you integrate these into your new community platform while migration.
12. Will the UI be affected? Ensure that the UI stays intact, and if you are working on any change then notify your users beforehand. An unexpected change in UI can confuse the existing users and generate undesirable UX friction.
13. Are emails and notifications turned off? Make sure that emails and notifications are not triggered during the migration. They will fill the inbox of your users and lead to a bad experience.
14. Is the support staff ready? Redress your customers’ grievances quickly. It will strengthen your customers’ trust in your brand. Ensure to have a grievance redressal mechanism.
15. How will the user resistance be overcome? Prepare well in advance because there is a strong possibility that if you switch to an entirely new ecosystem, you will face resistance from your users. If that happens, persist in the implementation of your until they get used to the new way of doing things.
16. Is there a plan in place to ease onboarding? Communicate regularly. A new platform will mean that some features will be added and others will become legacy. Such changes should be communicated to the users to ease onboarding.
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